For as far as the eye could see, there was sand. I had been walking for 5 days now through Brazil’s Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. I was barefoot and being lead by the shaman Ruda Iande.
For a moment I wondered to myself, “what am I doing here?”
Ostensibly, I was there with my good friend and business partner Ruda to create the bonus video material for Out of the Box, the online workshop we created based on his life’s work to help people live their lives connected with their deeper human nature.
Yet my reason for walking this path was even more profound.
I reflected on the journey that had brought me here. Five years ago I quit my PhD in international politics to create Ideapod. Originally it was focused on helping academics to share ideas and build deeper connections with the public. It then evolved into a social network where anyone could share an idea and be inspired by other ideas.
About two years ago Ideapod went through its next evolution. It transformed into a media platform sharing articles mostly focused on spirituality, eastern philosophy and mindfulness, translating these concepts for a modern day western person’s life. For most people, this is the Ideapod they know today.
As I looked around this incredibly beautiful part of the world, I felt an immense sense of appreciation for what I was here for. Out of the Box helps people to understand the concepts that make up their lives – concepts typically created by education, society and our upbringing – so they can be unlearned. Ideapod helps people to understand the ideas that shape their lives – and their futures.
Ruda’s mission is very similar to mine, which is why we both find such fulfilment working together. It’s also similar with my brothers Lachlan and Brendan. Lachlan created Hack Spirit, a blog focused on self-improvement, and he is also Ideapod’s self-described “content king”. Brendan is the founder of Expert Editor and creates all of our eBooks. We’ve also got a growing team who are all passionate about what we’re creating.
On this incredible trip with Ruda, he helped me to see that I’ve been living my purpose for many years, and that I have an incredible tribe of people around me.
I realized this was my mission with Ideapod. To help others go through a similar journey to what I’ve been on, discovering their purpose and creating a life around it.
If you’re reading this, it means you’re a Prime member of Ideapod. You’ve probably started supporting us this during 2018. It could be that our articles resonate with you, or the eBooks and salons are helping you on your own journey.
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for your support. You’re a part of the tribe helping to create Ideapod.
In turn, my mission is for Ideapod to also help you to understand the ideas making up your lives, while also connecting with like minded people who are also embracing new ways of thinking. I hope that Ideapod helps you to discover a purpose that has always existed inside you. In turn, I hope we also provide you with a set of tools to live your life aligned with this purpose while creating authentic and life-lasting connections with others.
As a Prime member, I want to give you an insight into what’s been happening with Ideapod during 2018, and what you can expect in 2019.
The most engaged with articles of 2018
Let’s begin with our most engaged with articles from this year.
It’s difficult to sort through the thousands of articles we’ve published to find the most engaged with. I’ve had a pretty good crack at it though and found the following. These are the articles that people spent the most time reading and also shared with their friends.
- We are born creative geniuses and the education system dumbs us down, according to NASA scientists
- I’m 36, still single, and finally figured out why
- Former Facebook executive: “you don’t realize it, but you are being programmed”
- Derelict school becomes national leader by making a surprising subject compulsory
- A 75-year Harvard study has revealed the most important factor in human happiness
- Stephen Hawking has a beautiful message for anyone who suffers depression
- These 22 brutal truths about life are difficult to hear but they’ll make you a much better person
- Your wounded “inner child”: 5 powerful ways to heal it
- Alan Watts taught me the “trick” to meditation (and how most of us get it wrong)
- Alan Watts: The essential introduction to his life and ideas
I love that each of these articles shares some pretty simple but profound messages related to practical philosophy in some way. They touch on how our creativity is shaped by the education system. One of the articles explains how technology is programming our mindsets. Most of them emphasize the importance of relationships to our overall sense of wellbeing. One of them introduces the notion of the “inner child” as a powerful tool to connect with your psyche.
In 2019, you can expect to see more articles like these ones but across a more diverse set of topics. We’re starting to expand what we’re writing about and we will also be publishing more expert contributions alongside what we’re writing.
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Expert contributed articles
This year we published a few guest contributions. During 2019, this is going to become a much bigger part of Ideapod. It’s going to give you the chance to submit your own articles to start a conversation with the Ideapod community.
In the meantime, here are a few noteworthy articles created by prominent members of the Ideapod community
- Ripping apart your inner sheep – break your chains and find your true purpose by Ruda Iande
- A woman entering her sixties writes a powerful letter to her 16 year old self by Jeanette Brown
- How you can enter the “flow state” of mind by Jay Shetty
Please look out for more guest contributed articles. Early in 2019 we’ll also have a lot more functionality for you to log into Ideapod and comment on the articles, meeting others in the process (more on that below).
Conversations around “big ideas”: Our salons
This was the year we put more focus into our salons. These are online video based conversations where we usually bring an emerging or leading thinker to the Ideapod community to explore their ideas.
At times we’ve called them “webinars”, and at other times we’ve called them “salons”. We’re still figuring out the best way to explain them. Their main purpose is to be educational while also starting conversations on Ideapod about whatever’s been shared.
Early in the year I had the following conversation with the bestselling author Marianne Cantwell about turning your ideas into action. I met Marianne on Twitter after writing this article about her TEDx talk.
During the year I was having a coffee in Melbourne with Dr. Scott Burchill, a senior lecturer in international relations. I used to tutor for him at Deakin University. He was telling me that there’s much more happening with America’s foreign policy in the Middle East than meets the eye. I immediately asked if he would like to have a conversation with the Ideapod community about it, and this salon was the result:
Finally, another highlight was the most recent salon with Marisa Peer, a world renowned hypnotherapist. We spoke about how to shift your mindset to create more wealth and prosperity in your life. You can probably see that the setting and equipment I’m using is improving with every salon undertaken!
What to expect in 2019
This is really just a selection of the highlights from 2018. There was so much more happening. I received so many emails from people appreciating our content, as well as a few people criticizing some of the more controversial articles. Every time I heard from someone was a meaningful moment – whether the feedback was positive or negative. It helps so much to receive the feedback and to understand that Ideapod is being created for real people with meaningful things happening in their lives.
So what can you expect to see happen with Ideapod in 2019?
First and foremost, I see Ideapod as a unique kind of media platform providing online education services. We have recently hired some new writers and we’ve been training them in the “Ideapod way of writing” – breaking down fairly complicated concepts in a very accessible way.
(Quick aside: This has been a very personal journey for me. When I was doing a PhD, my writing was convoluted. I wrote from an ivory tower. Now, I value being understood over being admired for my sophistication. The result: Content that I’m hoping people enjoy and are inspired by. Now, I’m happy that more writers are joining us in this way of writing.)
Apart from increasing the amount of content we’re producing, you’ll see significant improvements in the Ideapod platform. We are launching a new social network fully integrated with our media platform, where users can submit articles for publication on the site. Every article will have a more advanced commenting system, more like a forum. It will be easier to meet new people while surfing around Ideapod, moving from article to article. It will remain a media platform, and the changes will be rolled out step by step. But every new change will be designed to make it easier for communities to form around the ideas being shared.
Our other area of focus is on creating more online education programs. The next version of Out of the Box will be launched in late February 2019. I hope you’ll join us for this. It’s certainly the flagship online course we’ve contributed to. We’ll also create a few more online courses based on the eBooks we’ve already produced. We’re also talking to some experts about partnering up to create some additional online education programs.
Everything we create – whether articles, salons, eBooks or courses – will focus on helping you to live a life of purpose in a rapidly changing world. We’ll aim to educate and inspire, while questioning much of the conventional wisdom we receive from the societies we live in. Hopefully we’ll have a lot of fun along the way and meet some new and interesting people.
That’s it from me. Thanks so much for reading this far and being a part of this journey. I really appreciate all of your support.
Now, it’s over to you. I would love to know more about your own personal journey as well as what role – if any – Ideapod has played in it. It will help me shape where we go with Ideapod next year and beyond. Please fill out this short questionnaire. It will only take about 2 minutes.